If you've been in IT for more than 16 years you may remember a little worm called "ILOVEYOU." That event was 16 years ago today.
I vividly remember running from office to office on our floor violently unplugging machines from the network ports on the wall. As I heard more people call out "What the hell?!" I changed approach and rushed into the server room and unplugged the core switch.
This worm was nasty. One of the worst impacts before Stuxnet. In fact, "ILOVEYOU" was credited with $5.5 Billion in losses. For anyone who never saw this and are curious you can watch a video of a guy replicating the attack here on YouTube.
The worm mailed itself to everyone in your contact list with a title of "ILOVEYOU." When people opened the email it replicated itself again like wildfire. With shocking speed, mail servers were overwhelmed and people's inboxes around the world were flooded with these messages. It was quickly modified to attack certain file types and overwrite data in order to replicate itself.
IT departments were being crushed trying clean and protect against the tidal wave of malware flooding their desktops, servers and email systems. In some cases companies were kept offline until certain countermeasures were put in place.
What we learned
The silver lining to this story is that it was one of the early events that demonstrated to businesses how serious cyber security was. We humans are often great at ignoring the risk around things that we can't see, touch, or otherwise visualize. On occasion, we need these events that shock us from our norms and ensure that we understand the impact of our assumptions and standards.
Today is also a great anniversary in geek history. May the 4th celebrates "May the 4th be with you" An annual day to celebrate our love for the star wars universe.